I was delighted to be invited by EatMarketing to a sponsored tasting event at Novo Pizzeria. I was joined by a few food bloggers and foodies: James from HelloVancity, Mr. from VanFoodies, Janice from GoodEat, Bret, Tess, and Mercedes.
I have only tried Neopolitan pizza once before at Marcello Pizzeria. I always prefer eating crispy thin-crusted pizza, so I was pretty excited to try what Novo had to offer.
Antipasti Platter (small $14/ large $25): daily selection of vegetables, salumi, and cheese
Burrata Cheese Plate ($13): arugula, oven dried tomatoes, olive oil
From the appetizer plates, I tried the bread and the burrata cheese. The burrata was interesting because it had mozzarella taste but it was as soft as cream cheese. The bread was unique, though I have mixed feelings about it being crispy and chewy at the same time.
Aperol Spriz ($9): aperol, aprosecco, strawberry, rhubarb bitters, lemon zest
This cocktail tasted more like a cranberry cocktail due to its acidity. I wished it was sweeter and had more strawberry taste.
Golden Beet Salad ($13): hazelnuts, goat cheese, blackberry vinaigrette
I really enjoyed this salad, especially the hazelnuts and beets. The beets had the right taste – not too sour or sweet. I also liked the generous portion of this dish.
Sicilian Meat Balls ($8): currants, pine nuts, reggiano, marinara
These meatballs were really good! I liked the salad a lot but I liked the meat balls even more. They were moist and the texture was just right – not too soft or hard. The addition of currants in the meatballs was pretty interesting. Compared to the meatballs from Glowbal, I liked the meatballs from Novo a lot more. I normally don’t order meatballs, but I totally would during my next visit. If you liked my Facebook page, you would know how to take advantage of Novo’s FREE meatballs promotion. 😉
After the appetizers, our group shared 5 of Novo’s thin-crust pizza.
Margherita Pizza ($13): fiore di latte (Mozzarella), tomato sauce, basil
Burrata Pizza ($18): burrata, fiore di latte (Mozzarella), olive oil, basil
Funghi Pizza ($17): truffled mushrooms, fontina
Diavallo Pizza ($16): hot capicola, onions, chili flakes
Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza ($18): prosciutto, arugula, reggiano, fiore di latte
I tried the Margherita, Funghi, and Burrata Pizza. My favourite was the funghi because mushroom is one of my favourite foods. The others seemed to like the Burrata pizza a lot but I actually liked the pizza with tomato sauce more, since I’m not too crazy about cheese.
I was expecting the pizza to be crispy because the first time I ate Naples-style thin crust pizza, the pizza was crispy. I found Novo’s pizza really chewy. I’ve only had Neopolitan pizza twice so I can’t say which one is more authentic. Because the pizza was chewy, I felt like I was eating a lot of dough.
Next we had a special dish – Orichiette: in-house Italian sausage, swiss chard, fennel pollen, and toasted bread crumbs.
I was surprised to find myself liking the Orecchiette a lot more than the pizza. The pasta was al dente, and the ingredients altogether made this dish very tasty. It was one of the best pasta I’ve had in Vancouver because it was unique and flavourful. Usually I find pasta with sausage pretty oily, but this dish was not oily at all. Surprisingly, I would be very happy to eat just the Orecchiette and no pizza at all (actually, maybe just the Funghi pizza).
Vincent from EatMarketing told me that fennel pollen is the third most expensive spice next to Saffron and Cardamon. It’s very rare, plus it’s expensive in Vancouver. It is also responsible for part of the complex flavours that came through in the pasta.
The owner showed us the secret ingredient and I tasted a little of this funnel pollen. I wouldn’t have noticed the pollen if I wasn’t told about it, but then maybe it was the spice that made the pasta so delicious.
After the main dishes, I was ready to try the desserts as I had been looking forward to trying the nutella calzone.
First I had the tiramisu. Although the tiramisu was small in portion, I could taste its coffee-soaked layers and creamy mascarpone. It was different than the tiramisu from Cosca because the one from Cosca was drier. I prefer Novo’s wet and creamy tiramisu. Some people like that this is not too sweet. I liked this tiramisu but my favourite tiramisu comes with fancy things like chocolate drizzles or biscotti on the side.
When the panna cotta was served, I was amazed by its huge size! Compared to pudding-like panna cotta I tried before, Novo’s panna cotta had a really dense gelatin-y texture. It was almost like Taiwanese pudding, but even denser. I couldn’t taste the vanilla but I liked that there were vanilla seeds in the panna cotta.
Finally, I tried the Nutella calzone. The item sounded pretty good, although I wouldn’t say it was my favourite dessert of the night. First, this dish was too sweet because of the thick nutella. The calzone had the identical dough as the pizza. Because of the chewy dough, there was too much richness in this dish. What I liked was the addition of nuts in the filling. However, it would have been better if the filling was a bit thinned out and if the calzone came in individual pizza pocket, because the calzone pieces were too big and hard to cut.
The whipped cream was freshly made so some people really liked it. I tasted a little although I don’t like to eat whipped cream. It was really thick, unlike any other whipped cream I tried. I thought it was too rich to eat it with the nutella calzone though.
I was glad to have the chance to try Novo’s pizza while having a good time with other foodies and bloggers. I feel I need to try Neopolitan pizza at other restaurants to get a sense of the true taste of Neopolitan pizza. I liked Novo’s ambiance with its open kitchen and artisan ovens. It was pretty cool to see pizza being cooked in a 900°F oven.
- Favourite dishes: Orecchiette, panna cotta, and meat balls
- Great service
- I expected crispy thin crusts, but the pizza was rather chewy
- I can hardly understand the menu since my Italian food vocab is pretty limited. That also means I need more research/education on Italian cuisine.
- There were too few meat options for pizza, but perhaps that’s what Italian cuisine is like?
Novo Pizzeria and Wine Bar
2118 Burrard Street, Vancouver
-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny